General Periodicals, Newspapers, Annual Reports of Organizations, Archival Materials Etc

 

1. Introduction

 

Periodicals are publications which are issued at regular intervals, such as journals, magazines, and newspapers. They are also often referred to as serials. Periodicals usually consist of a collection of articles, which may range from a single page story in a magazine to a 40 page study in a scholarly journal. In other words, a periodical is a publication that:

  • contains multiple articles, often written by different authors, on a specific topic or subject area;
  • is published on a regular schedule (e.g., daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly);
  • usually has the option of being received through a subscription.

 

Periodicals can be published on paper or electronically and also priced or non-priced depending on the objective it was mwant for. Periodicals are broadly categorised under following broad heads:

 

 

Scholarly Journals are mainly meant for research purpose and can be peer reviewed. Many such journals are presently offered elecronically in database form by various publishers. Basic characteristics of scholarly journals include

 

1.  Report original research or experimentation, often in specific academic disciplines.

2. The targeted audience is the scholarly researcher, faculty, and students.

3. Articles are written by experts in the field, and are signed.

4. Articles often use specialized jargon of the discipline, and assume a familiarity with the subject.

5. Illustrations are few, and support the text, typically in the form of charts, graphs, and maps.

6. Often do not include advertisements. Any advertisements included would be unobtrusive.

7. Most scholarly journals subject articles to the peer review process prior to publication. Journals that employ the peer review process are also referred to as “refereed journals.”

8. Articles usually include footnotes or bibliographies to other sources, using a standardized citation format.

9. Are typically published quarterly.

 

Examples of Scholarly Journals:

  • American journal social management sciences
  • Journal of Scial Science Research
  • Journal of Cultural Anthropology
  • Social Problems
  • However, detail discussion of scholarly publications have been done in the module Learned Societies and Scholarly Periodicals in the field of Social Science.

 

2.  General Periodicals

 

  • Periodicals which don’t provide scholarly articles, research communications can come under general periodicals category. When we use general periodicals, it is important to understand the difference between scholarly and popular periodicals.Newspapers, newsletters, magazines and annual reports are different types of general periodicals. Such periodicals are published regularly and disseminated to serve specific purpose in society eg. Current affairs, Product literature, Project developments, Company information, Business trends etc. General periodicals offer some advantages over books depending upon your information need.

 

2.1 Usefulness in social science research

 

In general, general periodicals offer following benefits to social science research:

  • Because they are published frequently, general periodicals are the best sources for current information.
  • Current events are usually discussed in general periodicals long before they become the subject of a book.
  • General periodicals often contain information on the latest trends, products, research and theories.
  • General periodicals are the best source for ephemeral or very specialized information such as newsletters on specific subjects, projects or Annual Reports of organizations.
  • General periodicals provide access to a variety of recent and hard-to find information.
  • Due to the shorter length of periodical articles, more topics may be covered within one volume of a periodical.

We will have specialized use of each categories of general periodicals as we go on through this module. Following Table 1 highlights basic characteristics of different types of periodicals:

Table 1: Comparison between types of general periodicals

 

General periodical also offers some additional benefits to social science research as listed below:

 

Availability of resources

  • The frequency in which publishers churn out periodicals is a major advantage to social science researchers. Researchers working on cutting-edge topics or recent events often run into difficulty finding published resources due to the length of time it takes for books to be published. Yet because many periodicals are published monthly or quarterly, such researchers have relevant resources made available more quickly.

 

Relevancy tracking

  • Additionally, because periodicals are published so frequently, the essays and articles contained in periodicals are more likely to be relevant and up to date. Often researchers face restrictions on the age of materials they can consult. Many professors and academics recommend that the majority of students’ sources be no more than a decade old since older sources may lack pieces of information that contemporary scholars possess.

 

However, due to information explosion, large numbers of periodicals are now reaching to libraries, posing a serious challenge before the libraies to make such resources available to researchers. Following are some of the issues normally researchers face in modern libraries: Managing volume of materials

  • Libraries often have difficulty finding space to store periodicals. Libraries deal with the volume of material in several ways, including transferring the periodicals onto microfilm or microfiche and storing the physical periodicals in a warehouse or annex. This, however, can be a disadvantage to researchers who want to obtain the material quickly. Researchers may find themselves on a scavenger hunt to find where a particular volume or issue of a periodical is stored. Unfortunately, an even greater disadvantage is that some libraries discard periodicals, meaning that researchers have to travel to obtain the material from another institution.

 

Non-circulation of documents

  • Many libraries have a policy of noncirculation regarding periodicals. Due to the difficulty in obtaining back issues of periodicals, libraries place greater value on these publications. One way that libraries prevent periodicals from going missing or being damaged is to require that patrons use them within the library itself. While this gives increased public access to the materials, it can be a hindrance to researchers since they must do all research involving the periodicals in the library.

 

3.  Brief Account of General Periodicals and Related Documents

 

3.1 Newsletters and Magazines

 

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary Newsletter iseither a short written report that tells about the recent activities of an organization and that is sent to members of the organization or also a small publication (as a leaflet or newspaper) containing news of interest chiefly to a special group.

 

On the other hand, according to Oxford Dictionary a Magazine is a periodical publication containing articles and illustrations, often on a particular subject or aimed at a particular readership.

 

Newsletter and Magazines are published in a periodic manner. Coverage include:

  • Short articles
  • News and Current events, hot topics
  • Brief, factual information, statistics
  • Interviews
  • Hobbies
  • specialized articles of special interests.

 

These publications are targeted at the general public, and available to a broad audience, however, mainly focussing on specialized subjects. Other features of newsletter and magazine are

  • Articles are usually written by a member of the editorial staff or a free lance writer.
  • The language of the articles is geared for any educated audience, and does not assume familiarity with the subject matter.
  • Include many illustrations, often with large, glossy photographs and graphics for an aesthetically pleasing appearance.
  • Include advertisements.
  • Publication does not involve a peer review process.
  • Sources are sometimes cited, but articles do not usually include footnotes or a bibliography.
  • Are typically published weekly or monthly.

 

Some examples of Indian scial science Newsletters and Magazines are:

 

Economic and Political Weekly

Newsweek

Time

Outlook

India Today

Femina (India)

Frontline

The Week

Updates and News Monthly

The Business Enterprise Business Monthl

Tehelka News Weekly

Shair Urdu Magazine

Desh magazine

Rythubandhu

 

Importance for social science research

 

Newsletetrs keep researchers abrest of all latst developments. While scholarly publications provide them academic inputs, newsletter and magazines help researchers to know sectoral updates, statistics, current news, business information, and recent strategic developments in their areas of research.

Newsletter and magazines provide up-to-date information about policies, new research and findings from completed research. It also helps social scientists to measure impact of research projects by studying appearance of articles, coverage and statistical updates.

 

3.2 Trade Journals

 

Trade Journals are periodicals containing new developments, discussions, etc, concerning a trade or profession.

 

These journals are targeted at the professionals in that industry, or students researching that industry. Trade journals are also published regularly primarily by the associations, comercial publishers or corporate houses. It contains various trade or industry specific information including

  • Current trends, news & products in a field
  • Business news
  • Product information
  • Practical industry information
  • Company, organization & biographical news
  • Trends in technology
  • Career information
  • Book & product reviews, advertising.

 

Other features of trade journals include

  • It discusses practical information and concerns in a particular industry.
  • Articles are written by experts in the field for other experts in the field.
  • Articles use specialized jargon of the discipline.
  • Often include colorful illustrations and advertisements.
  • Publication does not involve a peer review process.
  • Sources are sometimes cited, but articles do not usually include footnotes or a bibliography.
  • Are typically published weekly or monthly.

 

Some examples of Trade Journals in Idnia are listed in the Table 2.

 

Table 2: List of Indian Trade Journals

 

 

Importance for social science research

 

Trade journals are of particular importance for industry or trade professionals and also to social science researchers to keep breast of latest developments, statistics and trends, which help them to perform better.

  • While conducting surveys for organizations or for any particular sector, trade journals are ost important source of information channels where researchers can get maximum amount of information consolidated at a single place.
  • Another improant criteria for such researchers are it’s authenticity. Sicne most of the trade journals are brought out by either the industry associations or corporate bodies, it generally covers correct data. Thereby trade journals have came forward as a useful information sources for trade and industry data.
  • Trade journal cover current and up-to-date information available in market. This makes research data appropriate for future projections.
  • Third most important use of trade journals is its potential as time saving tool. Since scattered information across the industry are collected by the association members at a single place, definitely it saves data collection efforts for researchers.

 

3.3 Annual Reports

 

A report created annually that provides an analysis and assessment of the trends of the past year. In general, an annual report is a comprehensive report on a company’s activities throughout the preceding year. They may be considered as grey literature.

 

Annual reports are intended to give shareholders and other interested people information about the company’s activities and financial performance. Not all companies are required to prepare an annual report. It depends on the company’s legal form and size. However, most jurisdictions require companies to prepare and disclose annual reports, and many require the annual report to be filed at the company’s registry. Companies listed on a stock exchange are also required to report at more frequent intervals.In India, most of the Ministries and government organizations also bring out their Annual reports for dissemination of their performances to public.

 

Annual reports have two major printed versions – abdriged and un-abdriged, while in most cases Annual reports are uploaded onto the organiation’s web site for wider access. Annual reports often consists of, but not limited to:

 

Other information deemed relevant to stakeholders may be included, such as a report on operations for manufacturing firms or corporate social responsibility reports for companies with environmentally or socially sensitive operations. In the case of larger companies, it is usually a sleek, colorful, high-gloss publication.The details provided in the report are of use to investors to understand the company’s financial position and future direction.

 

Some examples of Annual reports include

  • Annual Reports of Indian Ministries, PSUs
  • Annual Reports of Corporate houses and limited companies
  • Annual Reports of academic institutions, reseach organizations

 

Importance for social science research

 

Annual report ofany organization provide inumerable benefits. Following are some important benefits lited, however, annual report may at times proved even more beneficial to an organization.

  • An annual report contains some useful information about the organization such as management views, growth analysis, financial results, changes in financial results during the past two years. Researchers who are interested in the financial standing and future outlook for a company can find useful information in an annual report
  • An annual report can help one to understand the strengths and weaknesses of company’s business economy, since it paints a picture of corporate earnings. Annual reports can also be used in order to show the company’s financial situation to important users, such as creditors and other collaborators who are interested in financial dealings with the company. Investors typically look at the financial information contained in an annual report.
  • The balance sheet of annual report contains a detailed statement of the company’s current assets, including cash, property, patents and stock, plus debts that the company must pay off. The annual report can show investors which areas of the company are performing well and which areas are stagnant or in decline, and whether current debt levels are sustainable or will need to be increased.
  • It is very important to have an accurate and credible annual report as this is used to assess your ability to obtain credit and borrow money should you require funding.
  • Annual report provides details of key professionals of the company, which help interested parties to establish contact.
  • Employees based in one location get an overview of what is happening in other locations and divisions of the company from an Annual report.
  • The annual report may also contain information on successfully concluded projects that employees in different parts of the company were involved with, giving those workers an understanding of where they fit into the larger corporate picture. Investors are also keeping an eye on such completed projects.
  • Customers and suppliers can gauge the health of a company they are doing business with, or are considering doing business with, from information contained in an annual report.
  • Wherever a company considers doing business, the local community can use the company’s annual report to discover the nature of the company. The environmental credentials of the company may be important to a community. Communities may look more favorably on companies that demonstrate a community and environmental commitment.
  • Annual Reports also highlight company’s role in corporate social responsibility, which is a important yardstick for policy makers while considering grants or some additional facilities.

3.4 Newspapers

 

According to Macmillan Dictionary, Newspaper is a set of large printed sheets of folded paper containing news, articles, and other information, usually published every day. However, these days, newspapers are also available online. There are two main types of newspaper, the quality or broadsheet newspapers that generally deal with serious news issues, and the tabloid newspapers that deal more with subjects such as sport, television actors, and crime stories.

 

The newspapers collected their news from the news agencies. India has four news agencies namely, the Press Trust of India (PTI), United News of India (UNI), SamacharBharti and Hindustan Smachar. Newspapers and magazines in India are independent and usually privately owned. In 1997, the total number of newspapers and periodicals published in India was around 41705, which include 4720 dailies and 14743 weeklies. By the late1990s, the availability of news via 24-hour television channels and then the Internet posed an ongoing Challenge to the business model of most newspapers in developed countries. Paid circulation has declined, while advertising revenue — which makes up the bulk of most newspapers’ income — has been shifting from print to the new media (TV and online), resulting in a general decline in profits. Many newspapers around the world launched online editions in an attempt to follow or stay ahead of their audience. In the last one decade, the news media in India has changed rapidly. All the major news media outlets have an accompanying news website and Internet edition of newspaper.

 

Following are the top 20 Indian online news sites.

 

 

General newspapers cover all topics, with different emphasis. While at least mentioning all topics, some might have good coverage of international events, others might concentrate more on national or local entertainment or sports. Some examples of national daily newspapers are The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, The telegraph, The Statesman, The Hindu, etc. Specialized newspapers might concentrate more specifically on, for example, financial matters eg. Business Standard, The Economic Times, The Hindu Business Line, Mint, etc. In general, every newspaper havemany parts (Table 3), however, depending on the nature of newspapers contents may vary:

 

Table 3: Contents of different newspapers

While basic objective of newspapers are to provide exhaustive, accurate and updated information to its readers as quick as it can. However, some newspapers are found to be preferred over the others. A study of Media Management Centre, Northwestern University have found that following characteristics of newspapers (Table 4) are most liked by readers.

 

Table 4: Contents characteristics of newspapers

 

3.4.1 Newspaper Content Analysis

 

The newspaper content analysis includes all types of news information that appear in daily and Sunday newspapers and some types of advertising. Stories, photographs, graphics, agate listings, classified advertising, indexes and comics all fall within the scope of the study Display advertising is the only area that has been intentionally excluded because of practical limitations.

 

For social scientists content analysis is a useful tool to identify impact of newspapers, satisfaction index, usefulness of different sections and stories. A typical newspaper content analysis will have following steps:

 

  • A sample starta is selected for analysis eg. 7 publishing days from November were selected to form a reconstructed week of non-consecutive days. The sampling plan was designed to minimize distortion caused by a single major news event, holidays or other extraordinary circumstances.
  • Identification of news stories should be done using fixed criteria eg. they had to be at least two inches in length, they had to be in complete sentences with a central theme and sould not be paid advertisements.
  • Identify large number of sample stories in different story types, different themes.
  • News stories are classified and analysed based on place of appearance, geographic locations, themes and sub-themes, space covered, number of time similar stories appeared, source of original information, etc.
  • Analysed contents are tabulated and graphically plotted to find sections most covered, isses most discussed, hot topics, trends analysis, etc.

 

A quality content analysis provide useful tool to social scientists to carry on further research on contemporary social issues. For example, Economy section is of prominence in every newspaper. Trends of economy of India can well be analysed through newspaper contents analysis by pursuing number of articles are getting published.

 

Similarly, for all sections separate newspaper content analysis can be conducted to find out importance of the subject, curent trends and future directions.

 

3.4.2 Vernacular Newspapers

 

The first Indian newspaper was published from Kolkata, the `Bengal Gazette` or `Calcutta General Advertise` in January, 1780. This first printed newspaper was a weekly publication. In 1789, the first newspaper from Bombay (now Mumbai), the `Bombay Herald` appeared, followed by the `Bombay Courier` in the following year. Later, this newspaper merged with the Times of India in 1861. These newspapers carried news of the areas under the British rule.

 

The first newspaper published in an Indian language was the SamacharDarpan in Bengali. The first Hindi newspaper, the SamacharSudhaVarshan started its circulation in 1854. Since then, the prominent Indian languages in which newspapers had been published over the years are Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Urdu and Bengali languages. About 5,000 newspapers, 150 of them major publications, are published daily in nearly 100 languages.

 

Besides, print media, news are now most frequent in TV channels and Internet web sites. Following are a list of some of the vernacular newspapers, TV channels and Internet news based web sites.

 

 

 

 

Importance of Vernacular Newspapers

 

In terms of popularity, Indian language newspapers have taken over the English newspapers according to the recent NRS survey of newspapers.This indicate people put lot of value of vernacular newspapers. The importance of vernacular newspapers can be revealed through following reasons:

 

1.  The main reason is contents of regional newspapers. It covers local news much better than any national dailies. For researchers, regional papers are important source of local information and are frequently used for trend analysis.

2.  The second reason was the growing literacy rate. Increase in the literacy rate had direct positive effect on the rise of circulation of the regional papers. The people were first educated in their mother tongue according to their state in which they live for and eventually, the first thing a literate person would try to do is read the vernacular papers and gain knowledge about his own locality.

3. Moreover, vernacular papers can accommodate all major happenings in the local area. Such local news are very specific and would cover important developments, which would otherwise be missing in national dailies.

4. One of the reason of popularity of vernacular newspapers was the marketing strategy that was followed by the regional papers. It’s easy for local language papers to penetrate local market due to lower production and distribution cost powered by regional language.

 

Indian regional papers have several editions for a particular state to offer a complete scenario of local news for the reader to connect with the paper. Eg. MalayalaManorama features about 10 editions in Kerala itself and six others outside Kerala. Thus regional papers in India aim at providing localized news for their readers.

 

Eventually, the advertisers also realized the huge potential of the regional paper market, partly due to their own research and more owing to the efforts of the regional papers to make the advertisers aware of the huge market. These advertisers paid revenues to the newspaper house and in return publicized their products throughout the locality.

 

3.5 Private Papers

 

Private papers are natural accumulation of documents created or accumulated by an individual or family belonging to him or her and subject to his or her disposition. Sometimes, these are also referred to as manuscripts. Personal papers are documentary materials (in any media) of a private or non-public nature that do not relate to or have an effect upon the conduct of official business. Personal papers are a form of non-records. They should be clearly identified as “nonofficial” and kept separate from official records.

 

In general, characteristics of personal papers are:

  • Papers created before entering in official service ie. unofficial records
  • Private materials brought into, created, or received in the office that were not created or received in the course of transacting official business
  • Diaries, journals, personal correspondence, or other personal notes that are not prepared or used for transacting official business
  • Materials relating solely to an individual’s private affairs, such as outside business activities, professional affiliations, political associations, or community service activities

 

There are three generally accepted classes of personal papers:

  • Materials accumulated before joining government service that are not used subsequently in the transaction of official business;
  • Materials relating solely to an individual’s private affairs, such as outside business pursuits, professional affiliations, or private political associations that do not relate to agency business
  • Diaries, journals, or other personal notes that are not prepared or used for, or circulated or communicated in the course, of transacting Government business.

 

The line between personal papers and records is not always clear. Here are some examples of records and personal papers.

 

These are “personal papers”:

  • Materials for your activities as a member of a union or a professional association.
  • A journal of daily events maintained for your personal use that is separate from the schedule of daily activities you use for your job.
  • Notes taken for your personal use at a training course.
  • Notes taken for your personal use at a meeting that (1) are not circulated to other staff, and (2) are not used as a basis for action.
  • These are not “personal papers”:
  • Calendars, appointment books, schedules of activities, etc., that record your activities as a federal employee.
  • Drafts, background materials, notes, and other documents prepared in the course of your assigned duties, even though these are not made part of the “official file.”
  • Speeches given or articles written in your capacity as an Agency employee or Government official.
  • Notes used to give a briefing to Agency staff.

 

Importance of Private papers

 

Importane of private papers have find most of their imprtance among historians. While searching developments, trends or societal developments in the past, historians look for such private papers.

  • Accumulation of private papers potray person’s nature and interests. During historial research, private papers are considered as invaluable documents to understand and develop biography of a person.
  • Private papers also provide useful clue of the past in terms of social, economic and demographic Information, which are of particular importance to hostorians.
  • Private papers of celebrities are often archived and store as national cultural heritage for future generation.

 

3.6 Correspondence

 

Correspondence consists of memos, letters, and electronic mail. Correspondence is an effective way to make requests, submit changes to a job, and deliver specific information. Unlike telephone conversations, correspondence presents the audience with a legal contract that is dated and can support a claim in court.

 

Primary characteristics of correspondences are

  • One should concentrate on being clear and precise.
  • In correspondence, one should modulate the tone carefully. For example, tones will be different in a job application letter, when compared with complaining about faulty workmanship.
  • Similarly for business correspondences, people use technical jargons to boost up the message.
  • Correspondences usually have specialised format and style.

 

3.6.1 Memos and letters

 

Typically, one write memos to people within the place of work, and write letters to people outside the place of work. One major difference between memos and letters is the title line found in memos. Because readers often decide whether to read the memo solely on the basis of this title line, the line is important. Another difference between letters and memos is that you sometimes write memos that serve as short reports. In such cases, the format for the memo changes somewhat. For instance, in a memo serving as a progress report for a project, you might include subheadings and sub-subheadings. People who are mentioned in a memo or are directly affected by the memo should receive a copy. Similarly, formats for letters vary from company to company. For instance, some formats call for paragraph indents; others don’t.

 

Electronic mail is a less formal version of memos and letters. Electronic mail is relatively new and is changing in terms of sophistication in format and expectation by audience. The principal advantages of electronic mail over other types of correspondence are its speed and ease of use. However, e-mails have some disadvantages too.

  • One disadvantage of electronic mail is the crudeness of the format such as needless abbreviations.
  •  Another disadvantage of electronic mail is that it hardly provide any chance of proof-reading.

 

Importance for social science research:

 

Correspondences are one of the most powerful tool for communication and are having multiple advantages.

  • Correspondence are usually letters or other documentation sent in government or business environment and to participants, by any method of written communication, which means it can be produced as leagl contract.
  • All business correspondence are normally supported by sound business practices and a set of sound workplace policies.
  • Past correspondence provide important clue in historical research as well as legal procedures.
  • Correspondences are useful tool to frame policies, frameworks and business practices.
  • Correspondences are used to resolve disputes or establish relationship
  • Often correspondences are used to trace issues, individual history or happenings.

 

3.7 Diaries

 

Diaries are registers of daily episodes or transactions. In British English the word may also denote a preprinted journal format. They can as well be defined as daily records or journals. In most cases, they are blank books, which are dated for the testimony of daily memoranda. Examples of dairies include a diary of the weather and physician’s diary. A diary is a handwritten or printed record format, which has discrete entries that are arranged by date, over what took place either during the day or other period. A person who keeps a diary is known as a diarist, whereby he records his or her personal experiences, comments and current events taking place.

 

A personal diary may include a person’s experiences, and/or thoughts or feelings, including comment on current events outside the writer’s direct experience. Diaries can have multiple volumes and can e written over a fairly longer period. Although a diary may provide information for a memoir, autobiography or biography, it is generally written not with the intention of being published as it stands, but for the author’s own use.

 

Following are some important characteristics of Diaries:

  • Diaries may be open format, allowing respondents to record activities and events in their own words, or they can be highly structured where all activities are pre-categorised.
  • The diaries may be written in a formatted manner known as ‘structured’ diaries, as opposed to free text diaries, where a person write own feelings.
  • The amount of work required to process a diary (coding, editing and processing) depends largely on how structured it is. For many large scale diary surveys, part of the editing and coding process is done by the interviewer while still in the field.

 

Importance of diaries in social science research

Biographers, historians and literary scholars have long considered diary documents to be of major importance for telling history. More recently, sociologists have taken seriously the idea of using personal documents to construct pictures of social reality from the actors’ perspective. In contrast to these ‘journal’ type of accounts, diaries are used as research instruments to collect detailed information about behaviour, events and other aspects of individuals’ daily lives.

  • Diaries are popular topics of investigation for economists, market researchers, and more recently sociologists, has been the way in which people spend their time. Accounts of time use can tell us much about quality of life, social and economic well-being and patterns of leisure and work.
  • Subject specific diaries provide a clue to developmental trends in the past such as social networks and associated behaviour, social work and other areas of social policy, clinical psychology and family therapy, crime behaviour, etc.
  • Diaries can provide a reliable alternative to the traditional interview method for events that are difficult to recall accurately or that are easily forgotten. It can help to overcome the problems associated with collecting sensitive information by personal interview.
  • Diaries undertaken for institutional purposes play a role in many aspects of human civilization, including government records (e.g., Hansard), business ledgers and military records.

 

3.8 Government Records

 

Government records are defined as recorded information in any form, created or received in the conduct of government business and kept as evidence of activities and transactions.

 

“Government records” are primary sources of information. It includes all books, papers, maps, photographs, machine readable materials, or other documentary materials, made or received by an government agency or generated in connection with the transaction of public business. They include unpublished documentation in any format, typically maintained in organized filing or other recordkeeping systems in government offices. Published books, library materials and artifacts are not government records.

 

Records contain information that is needed for the day to day work of government. Their purpose is to provide reliable evidence of, and information about, ‘who, what, when, and why’ something happened. Appropriate steps are to be taken to preserve for its legitimate successor as evidence of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the government or because of the informational value of data in them.

 

In some cases, the requirement to keep certain records is clearly defined by law, regulation or professional practice. More often, recordkeeping is “built into” work processes, to ensure that the organization can:

  • refer to records of past transactions in order to perform subsequent actions;
  • produce evidence of financial or contractual obligations, to avoid dispute or protect against legal liability;
  • draw on evidence of past events to make informed decisions for the present and future;
  • account for its actions and decisions when required to do so.

 

The Government Records Office is responsible for establishing policies, standards, and guidelines for recordkeeping, including the creation, identification, maintenance, retention, disposition, custody, and protection of records. It provides records services to government through the Records Centre and the Micrographics units. It also identifies records of archival value through the records scheduling process, and is involved in planning for the long-term protection and use of these records.

 

Importnce for Social Science Research

 

Government records have innumerable benefits for researchers:

  • Governemnt records are most useful for researchers for its exhaustive approach.
  • Governemnt records are most important documents for any social science and statistical research, as they are considered as most authentic information sources.
  • An important tool for future analysis
  • Most powerful tool for policy making, standards, and guidelines preparation
  • The records of government also help to protect individual rights and entitlements, safeguard the public interest, and contribute to the historical record of Manitobans’ personal and collective experience.
  • All related records are meaningfully linked, which is helpful for researchers for exhaustuve study.
  • Governemnt records are controlled and authorised users have access
  • For social science, historical, economics, scientific, demographic, societal, trends, forecasting etc studies government records are particularly useful.

 

4. Archives and Prominent Archiving Centres in India

 

According to Merrium Webstar Dictionary, an Archive is a place in which public records or historical materials (such as documents) are kept. Archives can hold both published and unpublished materials, and those materials can be in any format. Some examples are manuscripts, letters, photographs, moving image and sound materials, artwork, books, diaries, artifacts, and the digital equivalents of all of these things. Materials in an archives are often unique, specialized, or rare objects, meaning very few of them exist in the world, or they are the only ones of their kind.

 

 

The archival activity in Europe probably had their origin in the ancient Greek civilization. First archivist was appointed in 1302 at Bologna for weeding of papers. Archival activities in India were started in eighteenth century in Supreme Court of India (1793-1796). For about fourteen years, tehre existed a Recod Office under the public department. A general recod office was established at Fort Willium, West Bengal in 1829.

 

4.1 Archival materials

 

Archival materials are defined broadly as objects in any form that record information which is preserved for future use as a memory aid. Archival materials are the basis for organizational knowledge, legal evidence, historical research, as well as personal and collective memory. Archival materials can include a spreadsheet illustrating monthly sales, a contract that is introduced in a court proceeding, the correspondence of a famous author, family photograph albums, or an audio recording of a someone’s first violin recital.

 

Examples of archival materials include:

  • Literary works including books, newsletter, periodicals including newspapers
  • Diaries and Letters written by celebrities
  • Architectural drawings
  • Historical photographs
  • Audio and Video footage

 

Some archives just have paper copies to use on-site, while others have word processing documents, PDF, or HTML/XML finding aids that can be viewed on their websites. Downloading and print options vary by repository. Some archives may provide digital copies of finding aids upon request. Many archives digitize materials (photographs, meeting minutes, reports, letters, audiovisual recordings, etc.) from their collections (microfilms or microfische) and make them available on their websites.

 

Archives are quite different from Libraries. Libraries in towns (public libraries) or universities (academic libraries) can generally be defined as “collections of books and/or other print or nonprint materials organized and maintained for use.” Users of libraries can access materials at the library, via the Internet, or by checking them out for home use. Libraries exist to make their collections available to the people they serve. Archives also exist to make their collections available to people, but differ from libraries in both the types of materials they hold, and the way materials are accessed.

 

Since materials in archival collections are unique, the people (archivists) in charge of caring for those materials strive to preserve them for use today, and for future generations of researchers. Archives have specific guidelines for how people may use collections to protect the materials from physical damage and theft, keeping them and their content accessible for posterity.

 

4.2 Types of Archives

 

There are many varieties of archives, and the types of materials they collect differ as well. Defining the research topic and knowing what sorts of materials you are looking for will help you determine the appropriate institutions to contact. Here is a brief overview of repository types:

  • College and university archives are archives that preserve materials relating to a specific academic institution.
  • Corporate archives are archival departments within a company or corporation that manage and preserve the records of that business.
  • Government archives are repositories that collect materials relating to local, state, or national government entities.
  • Historical societies are organizations that seek to preserve and promote interest in the history of a region, a historical period, nongovernment organizations, or a subject.Museums have a greater emphasis on exhibiting and preserving items of historical significance those items, and maintaining diverse collections of  artifacts.
  • Religious archives are archives relating to the traditions or institutions of a major faith, denominations within a faith, or individual places of worship.
  • Special collections are institutions containing materials from individuals, families, and organizations deemed to have significant historical value.

 

4.3 Managemet of Archives in India

 

At the National Level, the National Archives of India acts as the Secretariat of the Indian Historical Records Commission (IHRC) and National Committee of Archivists (NCA) which are providing guidance in management, administration, preservation and use of records. While the Indian Historical Records Commission which was set up in 1919, is a high-powered body headed by the the Union Minister of Tourism and Culture and comprises eminent historians administrators and archivists, the National Committee of Archivists is a professional platform of archivists from all the States. The Department is also operating two major Schemes of Financial Assistance for State Archives, Libraries, Voluntary Organisations and Individuals to facilitate proper preservation and microfilming of records.

 

4.3.1 The Indian Historical Records Commission

 

The Indian Historical Records Commission was set up by the Government of India in 1919 as a consulting body, whose opinion would carry weight with the public and which would make enquiries and recommendations regarding

  • Treatment of archives for historical study.
  • The scale and plan on which the cataloguing, the calendaring and reprinting of each class of documents should be undertaken.
  • The sums required for encouraging research among, and publication of records.
  • Selection of competent scholars for editing documents, and
  • The problems of public access to records (Department of Education Resolution No.77 dated 21st March, 1919).

 

4.3.2 National Committee of Archivists (NCA)

 

The National Committee of Archivists was established to provide a professional forum to:

  • Discuss archival problems and to disseminate knowledge of their approved solutions.
  • Achieve uniformity in professional practices.
  • Draw attention to the advantages and disadvantages of new techniques and developments.
  • Co-ordinate activities of common interest among archives offices in the country.
  • Consider and recommend measures to accelerate archival development in the country
  • Develop contacts and liaison with archival institutions in the Region as a whole.
  • Resolve problems by co-operative efforts at a professional level.

 

4.4 Prominent Social Science Archives/Libraries in India

 

India being a rich centre of culture and heritege over centuries, there are a number of archival centres in India. Further Indian government has taken active steps to promote archival system across the country through government policies and resolution. Some of the important archives are discussed here.

 

4.4.1 National Archives

 

The records holdings in the National Archives of India (NAI) run into 40 Kms. of shelf-space area and are in a regular series from the year 1748 onwards though there are stray records of the earlier period as well. These are in English, Arabic, Hindi, Persian, Sanskrit, Modi, Urdu etc., Apart from records on paper, NAI also have records on palm leaf, birch bark, etc.

 

The records are broadly of four categories: Public Records, Oriental Records, Manuscripts and Private Papers. These records throw light on the activities of the later Mughals, the East India Company and British Rule and the emergence and growth of the freedom struggle in India. They also shed valuable light on our social, political, economic and cultural life.

 

The total holdings in the custody of National Archives of India comprise the following :

  • 38,75,332 files
  • 64,221 volumes
  • 1,10,332 maps and cartographic items
  • 3,601 Bills assented to by the President(s) of India
  • 1,065 Treaties
  • 2,442 rare manuscripts

 

In addition, there is a rich collection of Private Papers and more than 7500 microfilm rolls of records acquired from different countries such as Canada, Germany, Malaysia, Myanmar, United Kingdom, United States, France, Russia etc.

 

4.4.2 State Archives

 

The aims and objects of the State Archives offices ares to concentrate in a single repository of all the non-current records both confidential and non-confidential as well as the private records. In general these archive contains

  • Public Records
  • Private Records
  • Historical Manuscripts
  •  Rare books of the library

 

Following are the list of state government archives in India.

  • Bihar state archives – established in Patna in 1912.
  • Delhi archives – established in New Delhi in 1972.
  • Goa archives – established in Panaji on 25 February 1595. The oldest record is from the year 1498.
  • Himachal Pradesh state archives – established in 1979.
  • Karnataka state Archives – established in Bangalore in 1972.
  • Kerala state archives – established in Thiruvanandapuram in 1962.
  • Maharashtra state archives – in Mumbai, Pune, Kolhapur and Vidarbha.
  • Manipur state archives – established in Imphal in 1982
  • Mizoram state archives – established in Aizawl in 1979.
  • Nagaland state archives – established Kohima in 2012.
  • Odisha state archives –
  • Rajasthan state archives – is established in Bikaner.
  •  Tamil Nadu state archives – established in 1909 as the Madras record office.

 

4.4.3 National Film Archives of India (NFAI)

 

National Film Archives of India was established in 1984 at Pune, Maharashtra. The primary objective of NFAI is to acquire and preserve national and international films, cinema; classify them, prepare documentation and encourage film study and promotion of film culture. Other major responsibilities of NFAI include

  • Procure and preserve still photographs, shooting scripts, poster and other associated materials of important films
  • Prepare synopsis and other background materialsfor the films in the archive and maintenance of a comprehensive cataloguing system
  • To undertake and encourage reserch relating to aspects of Indian cinema

 

4.4.4 Archives of Indian Labour

 

Archives of Indian Labour was formed in July, 1998 under the Integrated Labour History Research Programme at V.V.Giri National Labour Institute. The Archives was instituted in order to address the urgent need for preservation of rapidly decaying documents and material on labour and to provide for greater public access to the same. he archive, apart from being a repository of sources and documents also builds collections and initiates research in the field of labour history.

 

In total 34 special collections comprising 1,70,000 printed pages, 400 hours of taped interviews are stored in digital form. In addition several special reports and articles on labour history of India, a detailed inventory of material and sources on labour history and papers on technical aspects of digital archiving are included in the online version of the Archives of Indian Labour.

 

4.4.5 Other Library Archives

 

Several other libraries are also to be mentioned for their strong archival collections. Some of these libraries are listed in Table 6 below.

 

Table 6: Archives in libraries

 

 

8. Concluding Remarks.

 

Both scholarly and general periodicals are important source of information for social sciene research. While scholarly journal put more stress of innovation, discoveries and theries, general periodicals emphasize on applications. In recent years the culture of science has shifted towards knowledge development through interactions and applications. Although general periodicals don’t provide any options of citations or indexing and can’t be claimed for scholarly benefits, however, the importance it creates are discussed at length in above sections. Such currency and trends information will be missing, if generl periodicals are not considered. These periodical offer somewhat different information but ensures valuable contributions in social science research.

 

On the other hand social science research requires huge number of documents at times for carrying out trends analysis. Such research cases requires past documents both in private and public funded research. Archives and relevant archival materials come as handy output for researchers to procure information to complete research. Quite often we therefore find researchers visiting archival libraries or national or state archives for search of historial data. Economists also prefers archival data to know past and future economic prospects of an organization or even a country.

 

References:

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  • The Long-term Significance of Presidential Libraries, Corporate Records, And Personal Papers Kansas City, Missouri: Midwest Research Institute, 7p. Gradowski, G., Snavely, L., & Dempsey P. (Eds.). 1998
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  • Global Media Journal – Indian Edition, 2013, 4(1): 1-13
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  • Readership Institute. 2001
  • Newspaper Content: What Makes Readers More Satisfied
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